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WATCH | This festival is gaining ground on environmentalism and planting thousands of trees

Empty drink cans, plastic cups, cigarette butts, and fast food wrappers. That’s usually the scene after a big festival.

But the Eden Festival of Action leaves behind a very different kind of footprint.

For one week every year, like-minded people meet in the forests of the Tsitsikamma in a celebration of nature and to learn how to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

At the end of the festival, the only sign that they were there is thousands of newly planted trees.

Lauren O’Donnell is one of the co-founders of Greenpop, the organisation that runs Eden, and she’s fighting to make sustainability accessible.

“We want to make environmentalism popular, and so having a festival was just natural,” she says.

The Eden Festival is uniting individuals who are passionate about conservation while encouraging an optimistic outlook on the world.

“There’s too much doom and gloom out there in the environmental space, and not enough hope,” O’Donnell says.

At the Green Village, the main area of the festival, a different activity is held every day focusing on eco-friendly practices such as permaculture and beekeeping. But above all, the main event at Eden is planting trees.

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Creating this community for environmentalism encourages people to take their experiences and implement them in their daily lives.

With the festival, O’Donnell demonstrates how each person’s actions can have a cumulative impact.

Through stewardship and outreach, they have been able to plant over 150 000 trees so far across South Africa.

“This connection of people and the planet is incredibly important, because we are not separate from nature,” O’Donnell says. “We are nature.”

Footage by Greenpop was used in the creation of this film.